Passion Never Retires for Simone Filippini

What is my story about Passion Never Retires? It’s exactly what I feel is the most important thing in life and in my work as well: passion! Without passion, life is colorless, bleak, uninteresting.

What is the best thing that I love about my work?  I have been going to all my different jobs for the nearly 30 years basically every single morning upbeat, with a smile and with a drive to contribute with my team to something that might sound a little vague but isn’t: a peaceful, just, inclusive and prosperous world providing opportunities for each and every world citizen.

What is my idea of perfect happiness? Perfect happiness is connected to being personally and professionally fulfilled, being surrounded by a strong, vibrant and inspirational network of family, friends and also great colleagues.

What is my greatest fear? To get old and die without leaving a single positive trace on this earth.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself? I can sometimes be self absorbed when I’m in a flow because I am thinking out new ideas. As a consequence of my sincere enthusiasm for a cause and my drive to get to results I sometimes tend to run too fast and need to be very careful to give people time to catch up.

What is my greatest extravagance? Things of beauty… I love nice clothes, it’s great to touch beautiful fabrics, earrings and necklaces, fit great shoes, feel fresh book covers, imagine the stories they contain and see stacks of them at home ready to be read, I love hand made faience… And I must admit that I sometimes tend to buy some of it too easily. Fortunately my wallet prevents me from going too far…

On what occasion would I lie? I don’t like and I don’t believe in lying. Apart from my upbringing also as diplomats we were taught never to lie, but – great advice – not to necessarily always say everything. I would lie though to save my beloved from harms’ way.

What is the influence of role models, in my work and in my life?  My most important role models were my parents, each in their specific way, both with high integrity. My mother as an extremely resilient and energetic working professional while having eight children, my father with his drive for the public cause, always taking responsibility for organizations, wherever they crossed his path.

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work? When I feel negative energy, resistance to change, lack of honesty.

When and where was I the happiest, in my work?  I am the happiest when I feel that my efforts really make a difference. That they contribute to improving the lives of people, men, women, children. It’s not about one moment only. I loved for example the effects of taking a Mayor, two citizens and a neighborhood policeman of a town in The Netherlands to Lebanon in March 2016 to experience what it is to live as a refugee. For these people the experience was transformational and we were able to contribute to a different tone in the debate on refugees in The Netherlands and the way we should host them to optimize chances of successful integration.

If I could, what would I change about myself? Not so much, I am who I am. I prefer thinking how to make the best of myself within the talents and limitations I was born with.

What is my greatest achievement in work? Maybe when I led the women’s rights and gender department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Through intense strategic and operational cooperation with a diverse group of governmental and non governmental organizations we got women’s rights right back to the top of the Dutch government agenda. We even influenced the European and world agendas, including on the very sensitive sexual and reproductive health and rights agenda.

What is my most inspirational location, in my city? The beach!

What is my favorite place to eat and drink, in my city?  I live in The Hague. Coffees are great at Delice in Statenkwartier and Juni in the city centre, the best afternoon tea is to be enjoyed in the sun at the romantic tea house in Westbroek Park, and I like dinner at Catch by the Sea, a fish restaurant with a great view on the Scheveningen harbor, very close from where I live.

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime? My husband of course and furthermore I have a circle of really dear people around me who are always prepared to give me constructive feedback and help me strategize during breakfasts, coffees, dinners and drinks

Whom would I like to work with in the future? Michelle Obama and Justin Trudeau, and a number of youth leaders whom I find really impressive!

What project, in the nearby future, am I looking forward to work on? In my perspective, if we don’t put an end to conflict and fragility and provide opportunities for every single person in this world, we going to help the globe down the drain. So I looking forward to work on any project that will contirbute to peace, security, justice and development.

Which role models would I like to meet in the nearby future, talk about their dream job? To be honest, I don’t have very specific role models I look up to. I come across many inspirational people. Recently I met and was duly impressed by youth leaders. As kids they lived through very difficult circumstances, have always chosen peace over violence and are leaders already before the age of twenty. Even now some of them live very challenging lives. Sincere, honest, courageous young people. I would love to ask them about their dream jobs and the future they see for themselves and the world.

Am I ever going to retire from the work and life I love? Never. Maybe my work or activities will take a bit of a different turn when I get old, but my drive is my drive, my passion is my passion and I really hope I will be able to retain it till I die and to radiate it to inspire others.

How can you contact me? Facebook: sljm.filippini • Twitter: @simonefilippini • Linkedin: simonefilippini • Mail:

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